“Hookup Culture” does not exist

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The Loch Ness Monster, among other things that are not real.

When I first heard about the Air Force’s top commander, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, dismissing cases of sexual assault in the military as a result of “hookup mentality”, I was obviously upset for many of the same reasons that Katie expressed yesterday. Why are we associating consensual sex with rape? But I was also upset that the term “hookup culture” was being used in the first place as a serious thing.

Sex is sex. Not only that, people have been engaging in sexual activity — spontaneously, pre-maritally, extra-maritally, unmarried, with the opposite sex, with the same sex, but most important, consensually — way before us under 30 people were even born. Assuming that today’s youth are more engaged in deviant sexual practices and dismissing their sexual activity as part of a specific culture pathologizes sexually active young people. (I’d also like to add that the term “hooking up” itself is very white culturally specific. Which contributes to the panic surrounding it. It is implied that “good” kids are now having sex as a result of  “bad” trend created by their peers.)

Hookup culture is another one of those things we use to blame young people and women (because women’s sexuality is always under evaluation) for the issues affecting their communities, like sexual assault and high STD contraction rates, while continuing to deny them access to comprehensive health care and sex education. But it’s not really a “thing” at all. It’s the same sex that people have been having for years. Some people just call it hooking up.

Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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